Let’s start with the big news from the NVL San Antonio:
Megan Rice/Anne Osburn broke through Saturday to win their first NVL championship. No. 6 Rice/Osburn won it in style, coming out of the contenders bracket to take out top seeds No. 2 Kristen Batt-Rohr (21-15, 21-16) and No. 1 Raquel Ferreira/Karolina Marciniak (21-16, 15-21, 15-10).
The finals were played at night under the lights in deference to the 90-plus-degree heat and 90 percent humidity. The lights may have favored Rice/Osburn slightly, as they are more dependent on their powerful sideout game and less dependent on their defense than Ferreira/Marciniak. Rice’s jump float serve was on, as she hit a number of tough low float serves that were difficult to pick up in the lights.
Osburn: we were definitely just trying to serve tough, we knew they were at least a little bit tired. We wanted to give it all we have; we had nothing to lose, and just wanted to go after it.
Rice: Today we played a lot better than we did yesterday. I feel that we peaked at the right time, and we really played as a team; we picked each other up when we had to. When we hustle after balls, and we stick together, and we have fun, we always play well as a team. I feel really good about today.
The men’s division featured No. 2 Skylar DelSol/Piotr Marciniak edging No. 1 Dave Palm/Eric Zaun in a tight 18-21, 21-8, 15-13 match. In the first set, Palm/Zaun were impressive, consistently bombing balls at DelSol/Marciniak. In set two, DelSol/Marciniak improved their blocking and defense to level the match. Set three was tight throughout, with no team exceeding a three-point advantage. Palm/Zaun inexplicably went conservative in the final moments of game three, allowing DelSol/Marciniak to close it out.
Piotr: The final was played at a really high level. In the first game we were not perfect with our technical touches. Our opponents were executing much better than us. In the second game Skylar turned it around with a great job on defense. The tiebreaker was a continuation of the second game. I am so happy.
DelSol: The game plan was to play high percentage ball down the line; we noticed that wasnt going to work after game one, so we switched up our defense a little bit, got a little bit more disciplined on defense, and dug their shots a little better.
The NVL’s next event is July 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio.